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NFL Rumors & Draft News: The Tony Pauline Mailbag (4.8.21)
This week’s installment will cover my 2021 NFL Draft prospect rankings and various questions around draft rumors and items from around the league.
To begin with, QBs are expected to go in the first three picks on Day 1. The “beginning of the draft” spotlight is now firmly on the Atlanta Falcons. What might they do?
NFL rumors and roster-building plans
What is the latest you are hearing on the Atlanta Falcons? And if they do trade down, what team do you expect to be the team moving up to No. 4?
Final draft meetings for teams start taking place next week after the combine medicals, so more information will begin to leak out then.
The trade of Sam Darnold to the Panthers puts the Falcons in a tough spot. Any trade now would likely be outside the top 12, unless it’s with Denver. That means the Falcons would lose out on one of the draft’s premier players. (We spoke about this at length during Wednesday night’s episode of The Draft Insiders podcast).
The new regime will have to decide — do they want a premier player at the top of this year’s draft or a haul of future picks?
If you assume the first four picks of Round 1 are quarterbacks, where does that fifth QB come off the board in the first round now that the Panthers have traded for Sam Darnold? Could it be Denver? Washington? New England?
It could be Denver or a team such as Washington or Chicago trading up for the fifth quarterback.
What do you think the Panthers will do at 8 now that they have their quarterback in Sam Darnold? Which players would be the best fit for them?
We spoke about this at length during Wednesday night’s episode of The Draft Insiders podcast. The Panthers are in a good spot as they can let the draft come to them and get a good player.
2021 NFL Draft news and rumors
Do you think Kellen Mond can sneak into the first round of the NFL Draft? What teams would be a good fit for Mond’s skill set and development?
There’s been talk about that, but ultimately, it won’t happen.
Atlanta at the top of Round 2, maybe Philadelphia, Detroit, or New England are all good spots for Kellen Mond. He has great upside but needs a bit of time and development before he’ll be NFL-ready.
After Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, how big of a drop-off in talent is there at offensive tackle?
From what I’m told, the drop-off is not as much as people think. A lot of teams, as well as myself, have Christian Darrisaw rated highly. One team I share opinions with has Darrisaw rated a smidgen below Rashawn Slater.
Is there a good NFL comp for Kyle Pitts? Is he a similar talent to Travis Kelce? And what do you think Pitts’ ceiling is as a professional?
I don’t like comps, but if I have to make one, I believe he’s a faster version of Tony Gonzalez.
Every year there is a late-round or undrafted running back who makes noise as a rookie in the NFL. Who are some of the candidates to be that running back in 2021?
Chris Evans (Michigan), Pooka Williams Jr. (Kansas), Gerrid Doaks (Cincinnati), Deon Jackson (Duke).
A couple of years ago, you mentioned the Buffalo Bills were interested in tight end Jesse James, who remains unsigned. What’s the latest? Are the Bills close to signing him?
The Bills are interested, but per my sources, they are not close to a contract. It may be a situation where the Bills or another team agree to a deal with James on Day 3 of the draft if they can’t come away with a tight end in Rounds 2-4.
Want more 2021 NFL Draft prospect news? Want to do your own mock draft?
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